Written for North West End
Jersey Boys has always been a huge favourite amongst the group of Jukebox Musicals. It is not difficult to see why: A compelling story to success, the music of the Four Seasons is perfectly structured and paced to allow each member of the Four Seasons to have their full character explored through monologues, which are spoken directly to the audience.
Brickman and Elice’s book moves at a thunderous pace with numerous scene changes happening within a single song. As soon as the show opens, you are whisked away with Tommy De Vito’s snappy account of the boys meeting and the formation of the group. Benjamin Yates’ performance as Tommy bounces off the stage with energy, wit and humour- a great way to open the show!
A recent Mountview graduate, Ben Joyce takes on Frankie Valli with youthfulness at the beginning, slowly transforming into desperation and heartbreak towards the end. It is a hugely impressive performance by Joyce, particularly his beautiful vocals and believable acting. In the last portion of the show (which is told through Frankie Valli), the songs are used in a more traditional musical way, where he expresses his emotions through “Fallen Angel”. It is a simple and moving moment of the show.
Director Des McAnuff doesn’t allow the show to linger; the scene changes are snappy and the dialogue bounces. The live drummer on stage was a really great touch as he was included in many of the band’s “performance” scenes. The intelligent set design by Klara Zieglerova, combined with Projection Design by Michael Clark, creates a space where the location can be shifted within seconds. Pop Art-style graphics appear on the LED screen in order to reflect the tone of the scene. This contributes to the overall almost comic book style of the piece.
This revival is more stripped back then the Original London Production, so at times, it does feel like the space is crowded. However, the intimacy of the Trafalgar Theatre works wonders in the more tense scenes. These are mostly in Act Two, where it packs an emotional punch with the more turbulent side of the band’s story. There is an increased focus on their family lives and the sacrifices that they had to make whilst on tour. All of the vocals are very strong and blended beautifully. However, there is a lot of sweetening and reverb which was noticeable.
Overall, this production of Jersey Boys is a huge crowd pleaser and is bags of fun!